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  Intercomms Issue 17
Issue 17 Articles

IPTV for the Future Multi-Service Platform

Dr. Arefzadeh, COO, Dimetis
Dr. Arefzadeh, COO, Dimetis

InterComms talks to Shahin Arefzadeh, COO Dimetis, about how telcos are offering video based services as the foundation for a multi-services strategy

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Dr. Arefzadeh has about two decades experience in the IT/Telecommunication and Broadcast industries. After activities for T-Systems GEI, TRAIAN AG (Director Product Management), Granite (Pre-Sales) and Telcordia (Principal Solution Architect) he started in 2007 as CTO at Dimetis GmbH, focusing mainly on Dimetis’ products in video aware OSS environments. As COO he is now overseeing Dimetis marketing and engineering.

Q: Who is Dimetis?
A: Dimetis is the IP Broadcast Leader, providing standard-based Operational Support Systems (OSS) for telco and broadcast industry. Our software solutions manage most of the public broadcast TV in D-A-CH on the distribution side. With 2 million IPTV subscribers, our pioneer solution in streaming/IPTV is the global leading deployment.

Dimetis´s contribution suite dynamically moves live content as well as large files from anywhere to anywhere combining different technologies. With 10000 managed services per day, Dimetis´s flagship product innovates the market in content moving space.

Q: With the current down turn in the market, how important is it for the Telco’s to develop secondary services such as IPTV?
A: Video has become the primary service for telco operators to keep their market share. The global IP traffic will quadruple from 2009 to 2014. In the mean time, the sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand, Internet, and P2P) will continue to exceed 90 percent of global consumer traffic by 2014. Advanced Internet video (3D and HD) will increase 23-fold between 2009 and 2014. On the other hand, the traditional routes of bringing the broadcast signal i.e. from stadium to broadcast facilities have changed. In the past it was mainly satellite up/downlinks and microwave links etc. With the huge bandwidth requirements on HD and beyond, carrier grade networks are needed to transfer this bandwidth hungry application. Telcos have become part of the broadcast infrastructure.

On the distribution side roughly 20% of broadcast is delivered to end users via IPTV along with the traditional cable, direct-to-the-home (DTTH) etc. Over the top (OTT) like Apple TV, Google TV are very well positioned for the lean-forward generation. Lean forward generation is characterized through a combination of TV, social media, online chatting etc., all in one system, something telco operators can provide based on their experience and available bandwidth delivered to the home. There is a huge potential for telcos in this market segment.

Q: What are the main management issues currently facing these services at the moment?
A: Telcos have always traditionally been concerned with transport layers. Broadcast business is bringing an additional complexity to the whole equation. It is about content, metadata and transport all together, where the traditional OSS have some shortcomings. This is where Dimetis comes into the game. Our team has extensive knowledge of broadcast and telecom domains combined with latest and greatest IT skills. Our software solution provides a unique combination of broadcast best practices for telco operators. We can identify a freeze problem in the content delivery side and fix it based on pre-defined configuration, before the content is delivered to the end users and that in most cases in real time. While traditional OSS would identify the problem on the surface, we can provide a comprehensive analysis of the problem. That is why IPTV super head ends require such a Broadcast OSS (BOSS) as mandatory and no longer optional.

Q: How can your BOSS BROADCAST Manager® help in solving these problems?
A: Our BOSS platform consists of a wide range of modules, which can be combined in a deployment in e.g. an IPTV super head end. Traditional head ends still carry the broadcast signals in the old fashion way, i.e. ASI/SDI signal to be multiplexed. Modern IPTV head ends are “ALL IP” which means we now have to manage both physical and logical entities within our inventory. “ALL IP” head ends allow telecom operators to reduce OPEX and CAPEX on a large scale. However managing IP networks as we know can be very complex. An IP switch will be crossed many times before the signal can be sent out. Here old fashion broadcast tools are no longer able to manage the head end. At Dimetis we believe broadcast networks can hence be managed more efficiently, based on “ALL IP” and adaptation of broadcast operations into telecom world.

Q: As you are the leader in this area with tier 1 customers, how can operators future-proof these services?
A: As the broadcast industry is moving toward a hybrid (linear, non-linear = live, file based) production and delivery, file-based/streaming is now equally important to the new “lean forward” viewers. Many people nowadays watch TV on their iPad while commuting to work. The number of services and files to be streamed/broadcasted will increase over time rapidly. The IPTV head end as well as CDN need to be able to cope with a wide variety of challenges. Our platform allows the operators to start with traditional ASI multiplexing using DVB/ATSC to serve customers. Moreover we can use the same platform to support an “ALL IP” all the way to future file based streaming delivery.

Q: What are the differences between the telecom and broadcast market? How can we bridge the gap?
A: The telecom business is mostly about simple services for a large scale. Telecom operators are managing millions of customers every day. Where a problem arises e.g. when a trunk failure happens, average mean time to repair should not exceed 1-2 days. In the broadcast environment we have fewer services but need 100% delivery. If a service goes down, the respective software needs to find an alternative solution within seconds if not milliseconds. With the encoding mechanism technologies being used in broadcast business, losing an I-Frame can lead to loss-of-signal for up to 30 seconds. We believe this is the main reason, why most broadcasters/broadcast carriers were hesitating to leverage on IP capabilities for many years. With the entrance of IP and IT into the broadcast domain, the entire business processes will be changing. More and more people now are talking about SW integration and potentially optimized business processes. Dimetis believes software companies with deep broadcast and telecom knowledge can be business enabler to bridge the gap between the two domains.

Q: How are operators using your product base to expand their portfolios?
A: Our team has more than 25 years experience of dealing with telecom operators and broadcasters. Our team understands what it takes to leverage on products which are adaptable to customers´ environment. We recently conducted a 3-month field trial with a major telecom operator with different HW vendors. The Dimetis team succeeded in connecting different MPLS clouds and other broadcast technologies end-to-end whilst making it very simple for end users to set up and tear down connections with a high degree of automation. With our software solutions, customers can reduce their time to market for new „video based services“ massively and guarantee 100% emotion every second. That is entertainment experience in its purest form.

Q: How do you view the future in the industry and where do the operators ‘need to go’ to maintain a leading edge?
A: We at Dimetis believe the TV experience will become a social experience again. The time with all the family members sitting in the same room with a black and white TV setup has gone. Along with the content, the social experience will most likely become global too. Service bundling of social media, chat, video telephony, internet and quality content will probably be the key for the operators. Telecom operators have a lot of potential to leverage on service orchestration. Operators with fast service-to-market based on global content will be in a far better position.

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